Natasha Helfer Parker interviews Miguel Barker-Valdez, one of the founders of Rational Faiths mainly about the concepts of compassion fatigue and vicarious trauma. They talk about his experience as a physician assistant in orthopedic surgery, as well as a specific circumstance where he was part of helping with a fatal roadside accident (for those who might find this type of discussion disturbing, Miguel does go into detail as to his efforts to save a young woman’s life). Many jobs lead to opportunities to be part of other people’s suffering, often called vicarious trauma (mental health practitioners, physicians, police officers, fire safety, paramedics, soldiers, teachers, etc.). Even how many callings in the church are ripe for members to experience compassion fatigue and vicarious trauma.
Their discussion goes in many rich directions, specifically about issues regarding race and culture (Miguel’s “race awakening”), complicated family dynamics and Miguel’s relationship with the LDS church.
Natasha Helfer Parker, LCMFT, CST runs an online practice, Symmetry Solutions, which focuses on helping families and individuals with faith concerns, sexuality and mental health. She writes at The Mormon Therapist for Patheos: Hosting the Conversation of Faith, runs Mormon Sex Info and is the current president for the Mormon Mental Health Association.